I admire immensely Stephen Downes’ work.
Each weekday and Saturday morning here in Australia starts for me with a read of OLDaily over coffee.
Each day I find something that takes me on a journey of the imagination and to new connections.
Today I have been reading Stephen’s post on Open Educational Resources.
Stephen defines Open Educational Resources (OERs) thus:
Open educational resources are materials used to support education that may be freely accessed, reused, modified and shared by anyone.
Stephen’s post elaborates how he came to define OERs. I noted in particular:
- “it avoids needless redundancies. Specifically, it avoids phrases like “digital or non-digital’ which, on examination, mean the same as “everything”. It also avoids formulations like “OERs are resources that…” because this has the form “resources are resources”, which is not helpful.”
- “What makes material used for learning an OER is not the license it carries with it, but rather, whether it allows anyone to access, use, modify and share the material.”
- “the purpose of a functional definition – one based on the ability of a person to access, use, modify and share the resource – is that it enables a simple empirical test. Instead of metaphysical discussions about the nature of an object, we simply ask, “Can a person access the object, can a person use the object, etc.?”, and on being shown that they can, conclude that the resource is open.”
- “The purpose of the word ‘freely’ in the definition is intended to stipulate that the resource may be access without conditions.”
With Stephen’s guidance and Leigh Blackall‘s help I have been keen to explore open sharing in my work at the University of Canberra. Recently, the #HOPAU project with the Australian Paralympic Committee has given me opportunities to explore openness in a very practical way.
Stephen’s post today has helped me clarify the essential characteristics of this project. This is a writing on the wall time (about aspiration and country)!